Then and Now in the RAN

Then: If you smoked, you had an ashtray on your desk.

Now: If you smoke, you get sent outside and treated like a leper

Then: Mail took weeks to get to the ship.

Now: Every time you get near land, there’s a mob on the flight deck/quarterdeck checking to see if their mobile will work.

Then: When you stepped ashore it was in Stepping Rig.

Now: The only time you wear Rig, is for ceremonials.

Then: You wore bell bottomed trousers.

Now: Bells are gone and 14 year old girls wear them everywhere.

Then: You had one hat for stepping and one hat for Divisions. Usually it was one and the same.

Now: You have a selection of hats to wear, ball cap, sailors cap and an AKUBRA.

Then: The dress of the day was Number 10a’s optional shirts and sandals. The Stokers were the only ones to wear “overies”.

Now: Everyone wears grey overalls. Commonly know are either “ralls or CC’s” (Combat Coveralls) not allowed to call them overies anymore, now that women are on ships.

Then: The ships office had a typewriter on a desk for doing daily reports.

Now: Everyone has a computer with Internet access and they wonder why there is no work going on.

Then: We painted pictures of pretty girls on the planes.

Now: We put the girls in the cockpit.

Then: Your girlfriend was at home praying for your safe return.

Now: She is on the same ship as you, praying that the condom worked.

Then: If you got drunk off duty, your mates helped you back onboard and made sure you were up in the morning.

Now: If you get drunk off duty, they counsel you and then send you to rehab and ruin your career

Then: Our top officers were professional sailors first. They commanded respect.

Now: Our top officers are politicians first, they beg not to be given a wedgie.

Then: They collected enemy intelligence and analysed it.

Now: They collect our urine and analyse it.

Then: If you didn’t act right, they’d put you on chooks until you straightened up.

Now: If you don’t act right, they start a paper trail that will follow you forever.

Then: Medals were awarded to heroes who saved lives at the risk of their own.

Now: Medals are awarded to people just for turning up for work most of the time.

Then: You slept in a four man or bigger cabin, you all ensured that everyone was up and at it each morning.

Now: You live ashore by yourself on RA, and your fellow sailors don’t even know where you live.

Then: You ate in the Scran Hall, it was free and you could have as much as you wanted.

Now: You eat in the Dining Facility and you get one serve and you pay for it.

Then: You could have friendly banter over the scran line with the “pussers’ cooks and stewards”.

Now: You have to be careful what you say as the civvy behind the “food servery” doesn’t understand your language and will report you for harassment.

Then: If you wanted to relax, you went to the Wets and played pool, smoked and drank beer.

Now: You go to the Community Centre and maybe you can play pool, but no smoking or drinking.

Then: If you wanted to get on the turps, you went to the Wets and had as much as you wanted at a good price and generally had a good time.

Now: The beer will cost the same as ashore, and someone will be watching to see how much you are drinking.

Then: The Canteen had bargains for sailors who didn’t have much money.

Now: You can get the same things ashore for a better price.

Then: If an Admiral wanted to do a presentation, his Secretary scribbled down some notes and had a Subby or Mid produce some charts for him.

Now: Sixteen people spend a week preparing a PowerPoint presentation, that is probably wrong and the Admiral doesn’t understand what is in it.

Then: we called the enemy things like “Commie Bastards, Gooks and Slope heads” because we didn’t like them

Now: We call them things like “Opposing Forces and Aggressors” so that we won’t offend them.

Then: We declared victory when the enemy was dead and we had destroyed all his things.

Now: We declare victory when the enemy says he is sorry and won’t do it again.

Then: A Commander would put his butt on the line to protect his crew.

Now: A Commander will put his people on the line to protect his own butt.